28 June 2019

Trust nurse joins national celebration to mark 100 years of learning disability nursing

 Lou Craig At Hofc 210619

A Learning Disabilities (LD) Nurse from Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust has taken part in celebrations to mark 100 years of learning disability nursing.

Lou Craig, Learning Disability Nurse and Liaison and Diversion Team Manager for Swindon and Wiltshire, attended a reception at the Houses of Parliament on Friday 21st June, which was hosted on behalf of Health Education England.

Lou was one of four learning disability nurses from across the South West to be invited by Kevin Elliot, the Clinical Lead for the Learning Disability Programme, at NHS England. She was chosen for her passion and enthusiasm for learning disability nursing.

The reception provided the chance for learning disability nurses across the UK to come together to celebrate the amazing work and achievements that have happened in the last 100 years of learning disability nursing.

Speaking about the day, Lou said: "I feel very honoured to have been selected to attend such a special celebration. I have been a learning disabilities nurse for 16 years and have worked with some truly inspirational service users who have taught me so much about overcoming adversity and resilience. Our learning disability nurses work really hard to improve the lives of our service users and it was a huge privilege to represent them, and all learning disability nurses, from across the South West.

"Learning disability nursing is an extremely rewarding role and I can't recommend it enough. You get to enable each person to reach their full potential and to lead active, independent and healthy lives."

Chief Nursing Officer for England, Dr Ruth May, attended the reception to lead the celebrations of our learning disability nurses' achievements and she recognised the positive contribution they make to people's lives.

Deputy Chief Nurse at Health Education England, Liz Fenton, said: "Learning disabilities nursing has changed significantly over the last 100 years. We've seen a huge shift from institutionalised care to people with a learning disability now supported to stay well and maximise their independence.

"Health Education England is extremely proud of all of the contributions learning disability nurses make in their work with people and families. We're delighted to be celebrating these vital contemporary roles and look forward to many more inspiring achievements over the next 100 years."

AWP's Clinical Director for Specialised Services, Tim Williams, said: "I'm extremely proud of the work Lou and all our staff who work in these often challenging roles do. They are very dedicated to providing high quality care for people with learning disabilities to ensure they can live fulfilled lives."

AWP has 72 members of staff who are trained in learning disabilities as part of their Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) qualifications. The Trust provides services and support in both inpatient and community settings across Avon and Wiltshire for people with learning disabilities. The Trust's teams of psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, nurses and support workers are dedicated to providing access to professional help to those with mental health conditions and a co-existing learning disability.

If you are interested in becoming a learning disability nurse, the University of the West of England is currently recruiting for its training course, which starts in September. To find out more visit https://courses.uwe.ac.uk/B723/nursing-learning-disabilities

To find out more about a career in Learning Disability Nursing visit https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/explore-roles/nursing/roles-nursing/learning-disability-nurse  

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